Sunday, 17 October 2010

Baking Sunday: Friands

Part of my Baking Sunday is that I'd like to make something I've never made before. Friands are little almond cakes and something I've seen in mostly Australian cookbooks but not something I've seen much of in the UK. They consist of egg whites, ground almonds and icing sugar, similar to a macaron but with the addition of melted butter and plain flour and any flavourings you may wish to eat. This makes them super light little buttery sponges, perfect for afternoon tea. I've had a pretty busy weekend as I'm helping to put on Edinburgh Popfest, an indiepop music festival next weekend (these things are always more work than you ever think they will be!), but these were made in super quick time. The egg whites don't require beating, there aren't lots of ingredients to measure out and no special skills are required. The only downside is that they leave you with 6 egg yolks to do something with, but egg yolks can be frozen for future use (custard or ice cream are the best things to make with them I reckon).

I made these with some orange blossom water and orange zest but they seem to be pretty adaptable for any flavourings you wish - see below the recipe for more ideas.

Friands (makes 12)

Ingredients:
6 egg whites
185g butter, melted
1 cup (120g) ground almonds
1 1/2 cups (240g) icing sugar
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional - see below for more variations)

Method:
1.  Preheat oven to 200 degree C / 180 degree C fan forced. Grease 12 x 1/2 cup pans, place on an oven tray. (note: there are specific friands trays available but deep muffin tins are fine to use. This will probably make slightly more than 12).
2.  Place egg whites in medium bowl, beat with a fork until frothy (note: they don't need to be beaten, this will take about 3 minutes to get them frothy). Stir in butter, orange blossom water or other flavouring, ground almonds and sifted icing sugar and flour until just combined.
3.  Spoon mixture into pans, 3/4 full.
4.  Bake friands about 25 minutes. Stand in pans 5 minutes before turning, top side up, onto wire rack. Enjoy!

Variations:
Raspberry & white chocolate - stir in 100g white chocolate into the mix, top friands with fresh or frozen raspberries once poured into the pan before baking
Lime coconut - Stir 2 teaspoons grated lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/4 desicated coconut into the mix, sprinkle unbaked friands with 1/3 cup flaked coconut before baking
Chocolate hazelnut - Replace almond meal with hazelnut meal. Stir 100g coarsely chopped dark chocolate into the mix. Sprinkle unbaked friands with 1/4 up coarsely chopped hazelnuts.